I’m still nursing. People come in and sit around fidgeting while they wait for their issues to be diagnosed. Sometimes, when appropriate I make them laugh. I relate to them. I let them know that this isn’t anything that any of us really want to deal with.
In my head, as all nurses do, I diagnose them: rheumatoid arthritis, liver problems, diabetes. I don’t say anything even when they begin to share their ailments because we all take the vow not to diagnose people. No matter how much training we have we aren’t skilled enough to diagnose people.
It’s the same. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a mechanic. I don’t tell them that I think that their brakes are bad or that what they’re describing sounds like their power steering pump is going out.
I use my training to let trained people do what they are trained to do and when they give me the go ahead I break the bad news. I sit next to people or I stand behind the counter, depending on what the customer needs. I try to break it to them easily, gently. No one wants to hear that their compressor, the heart of the ac system isn’t working. No one wants to hear that because they didn’t come in for their regularly scheduled check ups a simple thing has gotten out of control and they now need a new rotor, transmission, engine.
I’m still nursing. I left nursing but I am still nursing. Still taking care of people.